In the Water

I often have strange and unnerving dreams. Terrors, if you will.

We were visiting a strange zoo. This was the place where you could morph into any animal you desired and live that way for the duration of your stay. We heard about it on the radio and finally decided to come see it for ourselves. We arrived, full of anticipation and curiosity, anxious with doubts. We agreed that my sister would be the one to go for the full experience. She went off as a fish, to glide through the water, to see the world from below the surface, to feel the cool rush of bubbles as the currents flowed past. A path snaked My mother and I followed her along through the streams and ponds, watching her dance and glitter around the rocks and pebbles, imagining how she must feel slicing through the water with ease as the water raced past her, until we finally reached the end. When we arrived at the exit building, I asked one of the foreign gentleman zookeepers for her back. Listening to the natural sounds and feeling the distinct, light-hearted atmosphere of childhood wonder, we waited about 4 minutes. When the man returned from the back room, he carried only a box. He handed me the small, flimsy cardboard food container. I opened the box and stared down. As realization showered over me, I dropped to my knees and began sobbing hysterically. Waves of guilt and loss and anger flashed across my forehead and dripped down my neck, seeping into my chest as it ripped apart at the sternum. As the box slipped from my hands, its contents spilled out onto the concrete. Two fillets, golden brown, dripping in hot oil and deep-fried agony.

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